Update on 10th April 2018: Rajasthan Vahan Chalak Sangathan, the driver union in Jaipur, has called off the strike as union’s demands such as the installation of cameras, and reinstating blacklisted drivers and offroads cars have been agreed by the cab aggregators, Yogesh Kuntal, the driver union member told MediaNama. He also told that six out of 15 demands have been agreed, and the cab companies like Ola and Uber are reconsidering other demands.
Meanwhile, Uber’s spokesperson also shared a statement with us and said that over the last few days, a large number of its driver partners in Jaipur are constantly reaching out to Uber after they were forcefully asked to go offline by a small group of protestors.
“We are committed to ensuring that driver partners are able to use the Uber app to have a rewarding entrepreneurial experience borne out by the fact that hundreds of driver partners in Jaipur drive on Uber on a daily basis. Certain myths being propagated by protesting groups are untrue.” (Uber apparently does not run any Uber-owned vehicles, charges 20% commission etc).
“We take business decisions that are aligned with the interests of driver partners and do not give preferential dispatches to any car. Further, Uber is deeply committed to the safety of its riders and driver partners. Certain driver partners and riders lose access to the Uber app when their conduct goes against Uber’s community guidelines. Technology helps build a strong deterrence through two-way feedback, emergency response assistance, GPS tracking and ride status sharing features for both riders and driver partners. The first of its kind comprehensive driver insurance program launched in 2017 bears further testimony to our continuing commitment,” the Uber’s spokesperson added.
9th April 2018: After Ola and Uber drivers went on strike across Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Bengaluru, among other cities last month protesting against poor payouts, now Jaipur has joined the protest brigade. Rajasthan Vahan Chalak Sangathan (Jaipur), a driver union in Jaipur has called out an indefinite strick against app-based cab hailing companies like Ola and Uber since 1st April, and a member of the union Yogesh Kuntal told MediaNama that the strike will go on till Ola and Uber accepts all their demands.
However, while most cabs are off the road in Jaipur, some users have told Medianama that they are able to book cabs, but on surge fares.
Hi, @UberINSupport no cabs in Jaipur for a week now— what gives?
— Appy (@a_appy) April 9, 2018
Hey please solve the no cab issue in jaipur as we are unable to get cabs we are facing lot off issue. otherwise company is loosing their customers @ola_supports @Uber_India @Uber_Rajasthan @Uber_Support
— Ajay Singh (@AjaySin16877322) April 9, 2018
Some of the key demands made by the drivers are (as shared with MediaNama):
- Stop adding more company-owned vehicles. (apparently Ola and Uber are giving priority to their own cars rather than driver-owned vehicles, which is causing loss in driver partners business).
- Reduction in companies’ commission from 25% to 10%
- The reinstatement of blacklisted drivers
- Installment of cameras in car for drivers and riders protection
- Increase terms of insurance from Rs 50 lakh to Rs 80 lakh
- Limit driver’s duty period to nine hours per day
- Information/communication from Ola and Uber should come in Hindi and in precise manner
- Pickup point farther than 1Km should be added as fare in rider’s bill
Falling earnings and ongoing strikes
Last month, a strike had broke out by the Maharashtra Navnirman Vahatuk Sena in Mumbai which then spread across Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Bengaluru, among other cities.
Drivers had earlier told the media that Ola and Uber are taking a commission of up to 27% of their earnings a day (a number which tallies with MediaNama’s deep dive into driver issues with the companies). They added that they want to companies to reduce the commission to 7% of their earnings instead.